Zoe explained as we strode through the hospital, “I’m so sorry, Katniss. Coin accessed you medical file this morning and she immediately called a meeting with her advisors and child protective services.”
“Why would she do that?” I ask, still not sure what I should be worried about.
Zoe nods. “CPS is supposed to be called in when a parent is regarded as unfit, but Coin has used them politically in the past. Last year a patient of mine opposed Thirteen taking sides in the rebellion; one of the ways Coin discredited her was to have her declared unfit and take her child away. Coin even had the child placed with one of her friends to prove her point.”
My stomach flips over. The worst of it is I’m not sure Coin is wrong. At the same time though, I’d sooner go back to Twelve than hand my baby over to her.
Dr Aurelius is nodding. “Which I’m guessing is where I come in?”
“Exactly.” Zoe turns towards him. “Coin will probably be attacking Katniss’s mental fitness. If you can say she’s fit, it would go a long way.”
I speed up so fast I think I startle them. “Let's go then,” I say. I know where Coin’s offices are; it doesn’t take long for me to find them, although my body protests slightly at running again.
The look on Coin’s face when I walk in with my doctors behind me is priceless. On anyone else, it would be unnoticeable, but the twitch of her eyebrow is practically raging on her. “Hello. I heard you called a meeting about me?” I ask as innocently as I can while still catching my breath.
“It’s standard procedure to call in CPS when anyone under 21 is found to be pregnant. Teen pregnancy is usually a sign of dysfunction in a family,” Coin sneers.
“In Twelve, being mother before your twentieth birthday is a sign of good luck.” I smile, trying to stay calm.
The dark-haired male Thirteen Drone to Coin’s right speaks. “In your case, there is also the concern about your mental status. Given how you have been resisting treatment and your general behaviour, I would say there is more than enough reason to have an ongoing assessment of your case.”
I feel trapped like an animal in a cage again. The walls feel like they‘re closing in. “I have been..... I have...” I can’t breathe, let alone talk. My knees start to give way again and Zoe grabs my arm and guides me to a chair. She talks soothingly and keeps telling me to breathe slowly, but I feel like I’ve failed my child before I’ve even started and I just keep getting worse.
Luckily, Dr. Aurelius steps in. “Ms. Everdeen has submitted to treatment since learning she is pregnant and there is every reason to believe she will be functioning much more normally well before the baby arrives.”
The Drone speaks again. “She cannot make it through a simple meeting. I think we need to be realistic.”
Dr. Aurelius turns on the Drone. “I am being realistic. This is a simple panic attack. The right medication will have those dealt with in a few weeks.”
I’m already breathing slightly better following Zoe’s instructions, and this helps calm me further. I look up and face Coin and her drones.
The female Drone on the right stares at me for a moment. “Well, I think the best thing to do is to keep an open mind for now and do an assessment when the child is born.”
Coin actually glares at her. “Well, if Everdeen is well enough to be a mother, perhaps she also feels up to doing her duty as the Mockingjay.”
The word Mockingjay is enough to send a shiver down my spine and I start breathing hard again.
Dr. Aurelius turns back to Coin. “I think the war effort is too much of a trigger for her right now. Perhaps we can review her status at a later date.” he says with authority.
Coin glares at him. “I expect to be given regular updates. If I feel you’re not making progress, I will assign someone else. This case is too important to be mishandled.”
Dr. Aurelius nods. “I understand.”
He kneels down beside me and asks, “Katniss, do you feel up to coming back to my office now?”
I nod and look into his eyes. I notice they’re a deep, piercing blue much darker than Peeta’s. I want to thank him, but I feel Coin’s eyes on me so I just nod. We leave as quickly as we can. I notice, though, it’s not me Coin is glaring at but Zoe.
Riley disappears around a corner though before I have chance to say anything. Neither of us has any idea what to say to the other. He was there the first time I woke up in Thirteen, but we quickly ran out of things to say. He looks so much like his brother it hurts me to look at him. I think I have a similar effect on him. When I’m not around, it’s easier to just pretend Peeta’s dead like the rest, rather than this awful limbo we’re both in.
I decide I’ve done enough telling for today, I just can’t deal with any more tears or accusations. I still have to sit with my mother and the Hawthornes through dinner, though, and that’s its own kind of awful. My mother sighs a lot and refuses to look at me, while Rory glares and Hazelle sends me looks that feel more like pity each time she does it. Prim tries to tell some story about the infirmary that’s supposed to be funny, but no one laughs. I eat my food as fast as possible. The one good thing about District 13 slop is that it goes down quickly. I get up to take my tray back and I hear Posy ask, “Why’s everybody so mad?”
It’s a good question, but I don’t need to hear the answer. Gale always hoped Peeta and I were just for the cameras, that without the Capitol I would be his. In his mind, I betrayed our love with Peeta. Of course that’s not the truth, although parts of it are. In the end it doesn’t matter. This baby needs its father and that’s what matters, that much of motherhood I understand. I go back to our room and lie on my bed thinking about the baby. So many thoughts run through my head they get jumbled. Worries about what will happen to us, where we will live, how I will take care of it, all swirl. I don’t even notice when my mother and Prim come in until my mother nudges me to say I should take a shower. I comply, glad to wash away this day and go to bed.
The next day seems to start way too early. My nightmares were awful, all of them included Peeta and our child
Running from what?running from mutts except when they were turning into mutts. I woke up screaming twice. Prim was beside me, shaking me awake. After another awkward breakfast without Gale, I don’t even bother looking at my schedule. I just go straight to my closet until it’s time for my appointment with Zoe.
I’m surprised my mother is there, although she doesn’t say much, just sighs as we go in. Zoe is as chipper as ever, though. “Now today I just want to do a scan. All it will do is confirm that you’re pregnant and that the embryo is in the right spot to develop properly. It’s still so early we might not even see anything yet, so don’t worry if we don’t. I just thought the sooner we know everything is good, the better.”
I nod, seeing the logic. I’m not sure how it’s possible, but I’ve seen enough of the Capitol’s medical tech to believe it is. I trust Zoe, if nothing else. She been kinder than anyone I’ve met in Thirteen so far. I get on the exam table and she lifts up my shirt and starts waving a plastic triangle over me. She stares intensely at the screen as she moves her hand first over my sides, then further down. I look at the screen, but all I see is black squiggles; just as I begin to think we’re not going to see anything, Zoe grins.
“There it is.” She points to a small circular blob near the bottom of the screen.
It’s barely bigger than her fingernail; the idea that it will become a person seems amazing. The image of a chubby little face swims before me and I feel a warmth in my belly that surprises me. I feel something like hope for the first time in a long time. Even my mother is smiling (although it’s a little tight). I’m smiling, too, I realize. Probably for the first time since I arrived here. Zoe is watching me. “Well, that’s really all there is to see. Everything looks good. The baby in a good spot and it looks good so far.”
“Could there be anything wrong?” I ask, worried again.
Zoe pauses for a second as she’s turning off the machine. “As far as I can tell, everything is fine,” she says, “and there is no reason to believe there is anything wrong”..”
“Okay,” I say, still uncertain.
Zoe turns around and hands me a piece of paper. “With any pregnancy, there are things that can go wrong, and it’s very early yet, but you’re healthy and young and there really isn’t anything to worry about.”
“I see.” I nod and then look down. Zoe has handed me a still picture of my scan. I can see the little blob and something flutters in my chest, but I look away. It makes all this seem far too real. I hope Peeta knew what he was doing when we created this child, because I sure don’t. Its It’s funny, though, I can’t help feeling like Peeta wouldn’t have left me in this position if he didn’t think I could be a mother. It’s not much, but it makes me feel stronger than anything else since I found out I was pregnant.
“Come on, I’m sure Zoe has other patients,” my mother says in her calm, competent healer’s voice.
I look at her, wondering why she even bothered to come. She said nothing, did nothing. She could have been any nurse in the hospital, and anyone besides my mother. Even without the Hunger Games, I wouldn’t know how to be a mother, thanks to her. I follow her out wordlessly, but once we’re in the hall, I snap. “Can you just be angry? Honestly, it would be easier than you pretending to be happy about this.”
She turns and I’m surprised to see sadness on her face, rather than anger. There are tears in her eyes when she starts, “I’m not. Honestly, you were in a terrible position, I can’t even imagine what that was like. I can’t be angry with you for that. I just wish that boy had thought of what he was leaving you to deal with.”
The fact that she could be angry with Peeta never occurred to me. I made this choice. I should take the blame. “It's not his fault. All he ever wanted was to protect me.”
“But he’s not here to do that, is he? And as far as he knew, there was no way he could be.” She’s red faced now and I can see veins in her neck I haven’t seen in years.
“I chose this,” I say, but it’s weak. I know it’s not true and now my mother does, too.
She’s yelling now. “Really? Because to me it looks like that weak, manipulative sonofabitch took advantage of you when he knew damn well there would be no consequences.”
I’m so angry I can’t even think of what to say, and since I can’t actually hit my mother, I storm off.
I check my arm to see when lunch is today and I notice my other doctor’s appointment. It’s with Dr Aurelius, a head doctor. I usually skip these appointments. I don’t see what talking to someone who has no idea what I’ve done will help. I need all the help I can get right now, though, so I’ll at least see what he has to say.
I walk in and he almost seems surprised to see me. He was just sitting at his desk, shuffling papers.
“Hello Katniss,” he smiles; it’s more of a greeting, though, than him being glad to see me.
“Hello,” I say, unsure of how to proceed.
“I had just given up on you showing up,” he says and then sighs as he stands up.
I scowl at the sigh; it sounds too much like my mother. He gestures for me to sit, though, and I do as he goes to a cabinet and rifles through some papers.
“So how are you feeling?” he asks distractedly as he goes through his papers.
“Fine,” I say, wondering why I bothered to come here.
For a few minutes, we sit there and he offers up a few the same basic questions the doctors have been asking me since I got here about how I sleep, how much I’m eating, and I lose more patience with every question. He sighs again when I tell him my nightmares are “terrible” without elaborating.
Then he asks what happens in the nightmare and I tell him. “I get attacked by mutts.” He sighs even louder. I snap, “Do you have to do that?”
“Does my sighing bother you?” he asks in his practiced calm voice.
“Yes. I already had to listen to my mother do it fifteen times today,” I growl back.
“Are you upset with your mother?” he asks.
“What do you care about my mother?” I ask, skeptical that it matters.
“Generally, mothers can be a good place for therapists to start,” he answers evenly.
“I just don’t see what that has to do with my Hunger Games,” I reply, uncrossing my arms.
“We don’t have to talk about your Hunger Games today We can simply talk about why you’re angry at your mother, if that’s what you want,” he says.
“I just want to feel better,” I say simply.
“I understand that. I believe I can help you do that, but I need you to talk to me to do that.”
“Why?” I have yet to get any of these doctors to actually give a real answer to that. Most of the doctors here talk down their noses to me and make sad pronouncements about my District 12 education. This guy seems less polished and softer somehow. He’s definitely not from the Capitol, with his short dark curls and deep blue eyes.
“Talking to a therapist helps people process and understand the things that have happened to them. It also helps me diagnose your specific issues and treat them.”
“Have you treated victors before?” I challenge.
“Yes, actually, when I was in Two I worked with a few. I also realize I can’t fully comprehend your experiences. That’s why I’d like to get a group session going with the rest of the victors when more of you are up to it.”
“And this helped with the Careers in Two?” I ask, curious. I didn’t think the kids in Two were as bothered by their actions; they seemed to revel in the glory of the Games.
“Yes, if they wanted to do the work, it did,” he replies.
“I don’t want to do anything with Haymitch, but I suppose I could talk about my mother, if you think it would help.”
“Great, now why are you angry at your mother?” he starts.
“She’s mad at Peeta. I’m pregnant and she thinks it’s all his fault, but it’s not.”
For the first time, he actually reacts to what I‘m saying by tilting his head and blinking several times. “Okay, apparently nobody thought to update me about your pregnancy, but besides that, why are you upset that your mother is angry at Peeta?”
“It's not fair. Peeta never did anything I didn’t want him to do. ” I blush realizing how it sounds. “I mean... ”
“It’s alright. I understand what you meant.” He smiles and I realize he is actually genuinely amused by me right now.
“I just mean if she should be angry with anyone, it should be me.”
“Why, though? All things considered, Peeta is arguably just as much to blame as you are,” he prods.
“I could have prevented it, though, I just didn’t,” I say, still unsure why I didn’t. It seems so simple now.
“Why didn’t you then?”
“I didn’t think I needed to, I was planning to be dead in a matter of days.,” I say flatly.
“Is that the only reason? Did you not want to be pregnant in the first place?”
“No, I....” I trail off because saying out loud that I didn’t want this baby seems awful now that it’s here. It also occurs to me for the first time that it was how Peeta’s mother made him feel more than once, unwanted and unloved. “I was trying to save Peeta.”
“Yes, but you had to realize that might fail. Was this some sort of back-up plan?” he asks.
“Not for me. I honestly don’t think I was really thinking when I was.... Well, I didn’t plan this.”
“How do you feel about being pregnant now?”
“Happy,” I say, realizing as soon as I say it that it’s true and not just what the doctor expects to hear.
“Wh....” he starts but he’s interrupted by Zoe barging in.
“You both need to come with me now,” Zoe pants.
“Doctor Avery, we’re in the middle of an appointment,” Dr Aurelius objects.
“It’s Coin. You both need to come right now,” Zoe insists and we follow her out the door.
I stand there in the hallway crying for a good while after I see Gale disappear around a corner. It’s not until someone else comes around the corner that I dry my eyes and start walking away myself. It’s reflection time, according to the schedule on my wrist, and my mother and Prim will be in our room. I decide to tell them right away. After Gale, I can’t imagine telling them will be any worse. Prim will be happy for me, if nothing else. Hell, Prim will probably be happier than I am. Of course I talk myself out of telling them before I’m halfway there and then back into it again by the time I’m at the door.
I open the door to our room to see Prim reading on her bed while our mother unloads the week’s laundry into our drawers. It’s quiet, but not unhappy; they both would like it here if they didn’t spend so much time worrying about me.
“Hi,” Prim says cheerily.
My mother turns and smiles at me as I sit down on my bed. “How are you?” she asks.
“I’m pregnant,” I say flatly, staring straight ahead. I hear Prim gasp and my mother slams the drawer, but I feel too drained to react to either.
Prim leaps off her bed and hugs me, but I don’t really return it. She sits beside me and smiles. “This is great news.”
“I guess so. It’s also pretty scary,” I admit. I don’t like to burden my family, but I feel the need to be comforted by someone just for a minute.
My mother turns around then suddenly. “Well that’s why you get nine months to get ready,” she chirps, her thin smile not quite hiding her disappointment.
“It's okay, Mother, I understand if you're not completely happy about this,” I say. I’m actually touched that she at least tried to support me.
“I’m not upset with you, . I just feel like I failed you,” she says softly.
The ghost of her previous failure hovers in the air for a moment before I shake my head. “You didn’t. I got here myself.”
“I know, but if anybody should know how to avoid this , it’s an apothecary’s daughter. I should have....” She trails off.
“Even if you had told me how to prevent this, I wouldn’t have bothered,” I reply.
“Did you both plan this?” my mother asks, incredulous.
“No, not exactly.” I shake my head “I just never thought Snow would let me out of the arena alive,” I admit. It’s only half the truth, but me saying I planned to die and leave them seems cruel.
My mother narrows her eyes. “You would think Peeta would have at least thought of you.”
I bristle. “He couldn’t have known this would happen. The odds of this happening were so slim…” Although I have wondered that myself, once or twice; Peeta always intended for me to survive, so I can assume he meant for our child to do the same. Just what I was supposed to do with a child without its father I can only guess. Knowing Peeta, it’s meant to protect us somehow.
“You really do love Peeta, don’t you?” Prim asks so suddenly I suspect she simply wants to change the topic.
“I do,” I say simply. Or at least I thought I did. When we woke up the morning after, it was perfectly clear. Even in the arena, I had no doubts about what I was doing. But then I spent the past weeks with Gale and that confused things all over again. It’s just so easy with Gale. I wondered if me with Gale might not be better for everyone. Peeta and I are so different and its always so complicated; things with Gale are just so simple. I suppose I’ll never know now.
“I just really wish he was here,” I say. This seems to exasperate my mother, who goes back to fussing with our clothes.
“Of course you do. That’s normal,” my mother says, refolding an already folded shirt. “I wish he was here so you could make this marriage of yours legal.”
I put my head in my hands, despairing of receiving any comfort from my mother. “Mother,” I start, “ I can’t even think about that right now.”
“What’s to think about?” My mother is genuinely confused now. Thankfully the tone that signals mealtime sounds before I can answer that particularly loaded question. I’m just hoping I never have to tell her I never had a toasting with Peeta, that I hopped into bed with him in a moment of madness. I think even if we had a normal relationship, that might be more than she needs to hear.
We file out into the hallway and I see the Hawthornes ahead of us, minus Gale. I try to maneuver so they don’t see us, but Hazelle turns and to my surprise smiles at me and stops to speak to me.
I walk towards her but I have no idea what to say when I get there.
“Gale told me,” she says simply. She reaches out and puts her hands on my shoulders when she sees my expression “It's all going to be alright. Gale will be fine and so will you. Just give it time”
My lip trembles. I’m tempted to pour out every emotion I’m feeling right now, but she hugs me. It surprises me. I‘m as close to Hazelle as I am to anyone, but I don‘t really hug people save Prim or Peeta. “Don’t be afraid to ask me if you need anything, okay?” she says softly. Then just like that, she turns and moves along; the crowd engulfs her in seconds.
Then it parts again revealing the only other person who truly needs to know I’m pregnant right now, It’s Riley Mellark.
Thanks to sabeceanbabe for betaing this chapter
In the end I simply go to my favourite closet and hide. I can't face anyone yet. I sit there for hours, staring at the wall trying and failing not to think about the baby. Mostly I just wish Peeta was here. He always knew what to do and what to say. I have no idea of what I'm doing. I will have to tell someone something soon, though. I may be able to hide it for a little while but my mother has spent too much time around pregnant women to be fooled for long.
As luck would have it Gale finds me. "Hey, Catnip. Had a busy day?" he jokes. "It's Reflection already and Prim is looking for you."
I turn and stare at him. He is the last person I want to see. We are finally friends again like we used to be before the Games. My news will break his heart, I know it. I really wish I could just put this off a little longer. I can't lie to him, though. I've had enough lies to last me a lifetime already.
"Are you all right?" he asks, clearly seeing how upset I am.
"I'm pregnant," I say softly.
He rears back like I've hit him and shakes his head. "What?" he asks as if he doesn't believe me.
"I'm sorry," I plead.
"How did . . . When?" Gale sputters.
I'm on my knees now. All I want is for him to say it's okay, that he has my back in this too. "I thought I'd never see you again."
For a moment he softens but just as quickly his expression hardens again. Then he simply stands up and charges out the door.
Notes: I'm not trying to make any sort of politcal statement in regards to abortion in this chapters. Its mentioned as part of Katnisses situation and her reaction is meant to be a reaction to her situation only.
Disclaimer: not mine don't sue
Although I'm currently avoiding my mother as I move through the hospital ward I have no idea what to say if she asks me why I'm here. She knows enough about my medical history to know I don't need any new tests for my head or my arm and I have no idea how to explain what I'm really here for. Our relationship is better now but I still don't think the news that I need to take a pregnancy test well.
Even though she has lived in the Seam most of her life my mother still had a merchant's pride. We might live in District Thirteen now but having a baby out of marriage was a big deal in District Twelve. More than just having another mouth to feed, a girl with a child isn't likely to find a husband and will probably live with her parents for the rest of her life. There are just too many single girls who don't have that complication and there are always fewer husbands thanks to mining accidents. It's probably the biggest disaster a Seam girl can find herself in (outside of being reaped). Finding herself pregnant without a wedding ring and by a merchant's son to boot. If the father was Seam you could just get married, he might have trouble finding a wife if people knew he abandoned his child anyway. For merchants, though, the rules are different. A Seam girl would be seen by the other merchants as trying to go after the family business and the boy would be smart to dump her and marry one of his own. Peeta would never do that and this is an extreme situation, but my mother's pride may make it hard for her to see that.
I still think I might not need to tell her anything. The odds that I'm actually pregnant seem slim despite the doctor's reassurances. Zoe, the doctor in charge of my case, seems to think that I'm just worried I damaged the baby in the arena. District 13 has fertility issues the idea that someone might not want to be pregnant seems to be a foreign concept to her. Although I'm still not sure what I really want. Part of me loves the idea of there being some piece of Peeta out of Snow's reach. But I can't be someone's mother. Maybe if Peeta was here it would be different but I don't know how to do this alone.
It seems so stupid now. I got caught up in a feeling and now I don't know what I'll do. It was the night we left home and I thought I'd never have to deal with the consequences, so I gave in to what my body wanted. That night on the train it felt right even know I don't really regret being with Peeta I just wish I'd been more careful. I had just wanted to give Peeta something freely the way he's always done for me. I could have taken the pills Effie told me she had on the Victory Tour, I just didn't see a reason to bother. Now I've got something else to feel guilty about. I may have created a child in this awful world just to spare myself some embarrassment.
I reach Zoe's office and open the door, sliding in quickly as to not be seen. Zoe smiles up at me. That's another thing about Zoe. She's always smiling. She's easily the happiest citizen of District Thirteen around. Her dark hair is pulled back tightly and even her ponytail is bouncy, her dark eyes scanning me as if looking for visible signs of pregnancy.
"Hi, Katniss. How are you feeling?"
I sit down and look blankly at her before answering. "I'm still woozy and confused sometimes but that's just from the concussion, right?"
"Of course it's a little early for pregnancy symptoms. I just wanted to ask in case you had noticed anything."
Of course I had deliberately trying not to notice any signs. I still was only vaguely sure what they were anyway. I had only pretended to listen during our last visit after she told me we couldn't be sure I was pregnant until at least three weeks after I'd conceived. I only knew for sure that I hadn't gotten my period since the games but that wasn't unusual for me.
"There we go," she said, slipping a piece of rubber around my arm. I watched as she slid a needle into my vein and my blood flowed into a vial.
Afterward, she walked out of the room to hand the vial off to a nurse. I sat there with my stomach doing backflips trying to decide what I wanted the results to be.
"Now," Zoe said as she closed the door. "I just want to remind you that we are testing very early here and a negative today could just mean it's still too early to tell. If the test is negative you should just come back here tomorrow."
"I know," I reply. I almost want it to be a positive result simply so I don't have to do this again.
"Have you thought about what you're going to do if you are?" Zoe asks hesitantly. That simply earns a scowl. if she thinks I've thought about anything else these last few weeks she not smart enough to be a healer.
She continues slowly, obviously choosing her words carefully. "I realize you were probably planning to have the child, but since you seem so reluctant to tell anyone I wondered if you might be having second thoughts. Considering your age and situation it's perfectly understandable. This isn't District Twelve. There is no law here that says you have to continue with this pregnancy."
That is something I hadn't thought of yet. I'd heard of such a thing. I remembered my mother handing some potion to a crying girl with a warning not to take too much. I just hadn't considered it for myself. In my head I would either be pregnant or I wouldn't be, my body would decide for me. Since that's what got me into trouble in the first place it seemed fair. I think about the possibility for a moment. The idea of making it so this never happened has its appeal. In my heart though, it's Peeta's child too and I can't make that choice without him. Besides that, I do feel something about this possible baby besides fear, its small but it's there. It's that possibility of something. I am terrified of this having a child and all that would mean but there is a spark there. A hopeful, happy feeling I get that I don't want to let go of.
Zoe nods. "I understand," she says.
I actually laugh at this. The idea that Zoe has any inkling of what my position is like is truly ludicrous. Zoe looks at me oddly for second then she starts giggling. It feels good to laugh and to share it with someone else. For the first time I feel like Zoe might actually understand something about my situation.
"I understand that you don't want to terminate, I mean," she says as she regains her composure.
"I don't know what I really want. The only thing I'm sure of is that if anyone should have a child, its Peeta. So I'm going with that."
Zoe smiles sadly at my words. "Going with your instincts is probably a good place to start. You just need to be sure you can live with the consequences."
There's a knock at the door and I jump not just at the noise. Zoe slides the door open slightly and the nurse hands a file in to her. She opens it then turns and looks at me, her face surprisingly blank.
"Well?" I croak.
"You're pregnant." She smiles sadly.
My stomach seems to drop to the floor and the walls seem to be closing in on me. I can't think and my stomach is doing a whole new dance. Zoe realizes what's happening before I do and hands me a garbage can right before I throw up in it.
"Sorry," I say as I wipe my mouth.
"It happens." Zoe shrugs and she then sits down next to me, putting a hand on my shoulder. "You can come back tomorrow and well do an ultrasound to confirm it but for now everything looks good."
I nod as I come back to my senses slightly and then I stand up abruptly, wanting to leave.
"Katniss." Zoe says as I'm at the door. "You need to tell people about this, your mother, Haymitch, your sister. I won't tell Coin or anyone about this if you don't want me too. You're not alone. You have people who can help if you let them."
I nod but I'm not sure I believe her. Then I walk out, trying to sort through my emotions.
Also thanks for Daybreak777 for betaing this fic
Inara still felt vaguely uneasy in this room which was odd considering everything about it was designed to put a person at ease. From the rich drapes to the running water fountain to the music drifting in from the courtyard, it was supposed to be warm and welcoming. But for Inara, it was always her mother’s room and always felt as chilly as a winter wind.
“So,” her mother started carefully, “How are things on your ship?”
Inara all but rolled her eyes. “You know perfectly well everything that’s happened on my ship, Mother. That’s why I’m here. So how about we dispense with the superfluous pleasantries and discuss what you actually want to talk about?”
Her mother rose an eyebrow. “So, I see you have acquired some rough manners out there on the rim,” she replied dryly.
“I have always refused to suffer foolishness, Mother. I just have greater license to express it out where people have little time for it themselves.”
“From the sounds of things, those people out there are nothing but foolish, expecting The Alliance to help them with every little thing,” her mother sniffed.
“The Alliance never helped anyone unless it suited their ends,” Inara replied harshly. Inside she thought to herself, ‘Buddha, save me, I sound like Mal.’
“Let us not argue about politics. It's beside the point right now. We should be talking about your career such as it is.”
“My career is fine, Mother. I have expanded my client base and my horizons a dozen times over,” Inara answered proudly.
“So you posit that life amongst common thieves is good for you?” her mother replied, incredulous.
“I think living a life of my own choosing is what’s best for me. Yes,” Inara answered. She almost wanted to laugh. Her mother’s distaste was obvious and Inara had expected nothing less.
“You could choose anything you wanted here on Shinon,” her mother scoffed.
“Only if you approve, though. That’s the catch. I couldn’t live with anymore,” Inara replied, “and I didn’t come here to be insulted, either. So you can tell me what the council wants or tell me how you feel. For once, I have a hearing to prepare for and a thousand other things I could be doing right now if you are just going to waste my time.”
Her Mother sighed, stood up from her chair, and faced the window. “Someone higher up is pushing the Guild. I don’t who. They don’t really want your license, they just want you to fall in line.”
“What do they want me to do, come back to Shinon?” Inara asked, uncertain. She had a sinking feeling she knew the answer already.
“They would be satisfied if you went back to the training house you were at before all of this. The Guild simply cannot allow itself to be associated in any way with the infamous Malcolm Reynolds.” She spoke simply this time, devoid of all emotion.
“So you’re saying I have to leave Serenity or I have to give up my membership?” Inara asked quietly. Her mother simply nodded.
Shopping was never one of Kara’s favorite activities and the ability to do so in one of the biggest Triplexes in the Core with a wad of cash from her last job with Sam wasn’t improving the experience. Kara still wasn’t sure if she liked this “Tri-Plex," a large glass stacked pyramid that was a more sophisticated version of Persephone’s markets. For one, it was eerily clean and for another, the prices were insane. The few odds and ends they’d both needed for clothes had been dirt cheap on the lower levels but the prices went in the other extreme further up. Up here she kept feeling like someone was going to come along and chase them out, but Sam had said it might be their last chance to see something like this for a while and for once, they could afford it.
Kara still wasn’t sure how they had wound up looking at baby stuff, but she knew it was somehow Sam’s fault. Still, she found herself fingering a yellow jumper and getting the same shiver of excitement that she used to associate with getting into a viper. She had never been one to coo over baby stuff, but it was odd now thinking about actually needing it. Since hearing she was pregnant, they had spent so much time reacting and running, it was only really sinking in lately how much everything was going to change. Logistically, a lot had changed already, but it still shocked her to think that she, Kara “frak up” Thrace, was going to be responsible for a real live baby. She wanted this baby. She knew it the second she heard the news. It was the thing she had wished for more than once while she had watched Sam fight for his life after the mutiny. It started with Kacey, she knew that, but watching Sam slipping away had made her sure of it and of many other things.
“How about this?” Sam asked, holding up a deep red silk dress.
“Well for one I’m not sure if our son would like it much if that’s what we're having,” Kara said, walking over. "And for another, it costs about half of what we…” Kara trailed off when she realized she recognized the man walking past the window.
It was the last person she expected, but she would know him anywhere. It was Lee Adama. Instinctively, she ducked out of the shop and chased after him. If he was here, she wanted to know the reason. Sam dropped the dress and followed a step behind. “Lee,” she called out, knowing it was all she needed to say.
“Kara?” Lee asked, clearly as shocked as she was. “What are you doing here?”
“Shopping,” Kara shrugged, stopping awkwardly two feet in front of Lee. Suddenly, she remembered how they had parted on bad terms.
“Hey,” Sam added coldly. He clearly remembered Lee calling him a coward for ‘running out on the colony’.
“Me too,” Lee grinned awkwardly. “I got tired of everyone staring at my outfits so I figured I should buy some for the conference, which is really the reason I’m here. On Shinon, I mean. I’m representing the colony. Well, me and Tory anyway.”
“Yeah, well we just got paid and we needed a few things so we came up here to check it out,” Sam said.
“We were just gonna grab something to send back for Nicky and Hera,” Kara added, cutting Sam off before he could tell Lee their news. After everything, he deserved to hear it privately; she owed him that much. Plus it made him less likely to tell the whole colony out of spite. They still weren't sure if they ever wanted the extremist elements on either side to know about this baby.
“That’s great,” Lee said, smiling oddly again. “I’m kinda in a hurry, I have to get back. How about we meet up later to catch up?“
Sam nodded. “Sounds good. Do you have anything so we could give you our ship's wavelength?”
“Sure,” Lee replied, handing over a pad.
“We’ll see you later,” Kara nodded as Lee took back his pad and left. Sam and Kara exchanged a look as he left and then went back to their shopping.
2 Now on to the disappointing tv experiences, I've been watching Off the Map and I am very unhappy. I know its only two episodes in but the lack of locals on the show as real characters is already grating and I hate that its all about the white people. The show feels very mighty whitey which is a real shame because it had such an interesting premise.
3. The Game is BACK !!! I'm so excited about that, I'm slightly worried about the lack of Jason and Kelly since their my faves but Tasha Mack is still fierce so I am still fairly happy. Also please watch I know its sounds silly buts its really smart and the most feminist show on tv (IMO anyway)
Disclaimer: not mine don't sue
"Starbuck, we already know way too much about your sex life. Please, for the good of the rest of us, shut up," Cally snarked from her position next to the stove.
It was a Friday night and Cally was starting to think of the crowd gathered around her tent, drinking Galen's homebrew. The only reason she put up with the still in the first place was that it meant they always had a party when she felt up to it. Although that was was less often lately, she thought, rubbing her six month belly.
"If you weren't knocked up Tyrol," Kara threatened, but she was grinning and Cally knew it was an empty threat. Kara was perched on Sam's lap in an ancient chair that was apparently a lot sturdier than it looked.
"I'm with Cally on this one," Jammer added. "We have got to have something better to talk about. Hell, I'd even settle for cards over that," he teased from his spot on the kitchen table.
"You know we do have another chair around here somewhere," Galen said.
"I'm fine where I am," Jammer replied.
"Sitting there makes him feel tall," Seelix chided, and the group laughed.
Jammer shook his head but grinned good naturedly. "No, I'm just close to the fire here, so I'm not freezing."
It was cold enough to see their breath, and the damp seemed to soak into their skin, so it was hard to argue with Jammer, but Cally figured Seelix was partly right too. Cally suspected the cold kept all the couples close as much as any newly wedded bliss. Even Jean was leaning on Sam's shoulder.
"The admiral is looking for civilian pilots to help with donut runs between here and Galactica," Helo piped up from beside Sam and Kara. Cally had been wondering why he had come. She still wasn't sure what to think of the toasterfrakker and she suspected he knew it.
"Really?" Duck asked, clearly curious.
"Yeah," Helo nodded. "You interested?"
"Maybe," Duck shrugged. "It beats digging ditches, I suppose. You gonna be flying with me Starbuck?" he asked.
"Nope, I already turned him down," Kara explained. "I like the job I have."
Helo turned toward Kara and narrowed his eyes. "I still can't quite believe you though. You really don't miss flying?"
Kara grinned. "Flying in circles you mean? Hell no. I would rather be here where I'm actually useful. Of course, you were never very useful Karl, so I get why you
might not understand that."
"I don't mind flying in circles, but I have to agree that life down here gives you a lot more room to breathe," Duck added.
"Come on, even on a night like this you guys don't miss the big G?" Helo asked, clearly wondering if they were all nuts.
"Not really," Galen shrugged, and the rest of the group muttered an agreement. It was funny, but Cally suspected they all meant it too. Galactica might be warmer, but for most of them, it was filled with bad memories. They'd all seen too much death. New Caprica wasn't exactly pretty, but at least it wasn't a graveyard.
Kara looked serious for a moment and then said, "I miss the Old Man, but I don't miss the rest of it. Up there I'd just be marking time. Besides there are other perks" she grinned and Sam leaned over and snuck a kiss
Cally looked at Kara. It was funny, but somehow they'd wound up in the same place. Maybe not exactly, but they were both newlyweds trying to figure out where they fit in this new world and in new marriages. There was a time when Cally would have laughed (or maybe swung a fist at) whoever would have suggested that she had anything in common with Starbuck, but now Kara was becoming one of her closest friends. Sam had a humanizing effect on her, and on the ground, she wasn't nearly as cocky as she was in the cockpit. Cally was actually wondering if they might make good Godparents. Sam was more religious than Duck, and Kara's beliefs were more in line with hers than Seelix. It was hard to explain but the baby was the thing that made her know in her heart the move was right. As much as Galactica was home, she never got excited at the thought of sharing it with her son, but one of the best things about this new world is that she can share it with her son. Cally suspected that was that the other thing Karl wasn't getting was that this was a brave new world and they all had a shot at making it a better one than the worlds they left behind.
Gaeta reached for his third drink and asked the room at large, "Wanna hear what stupid idea Baltar had this week?"
"Sure," Galen replied.
Cally tuned out at that point. She didn't want to hear the latest political bad news. She was too busy daydreaming about her son and all the things they would share.